Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Role of a Trainer

I have always worked on eLearning rather than ILTs. I did start my ID career working on an ILT. But last year, I have had the opportunity to work on two completely different types of ILT.

Type 1: During this session, we had to teach call center executives the basics of Internet. We conducted telephonic contextual inquiry and mystery shopping (over the phone) to understand our learners. The learners were a fun loving lot: young, eager to work well, motivated. Designing ILT for these guys was absolutely fun. We introduced several videos and interesting activities and group discussions, which had the desired impact. We also had young, enthusiastic trainers run the training program.

Type 2: This was much, much more challenging. This training program was huge! Kern Learning Solutions conducted an assessment center to understand the current competencies and carried out detailed contextual inquiry. Based on the findings, training areas were formulated. I learnt a lot during the storyboarding phase of this project:
1. Working with SMEs
2. Designing activities that interested the learners
3. Ensuring printing too place (believe me this can be a nightmare)
5. Clear communication with the trainers

I attended the pilot to check how the learners responded to the training. The experience needless to say was absolutely thrilling. I learnt a lot. I specifically wanted to share what I thought of the role of the trainer. During a #KernLearn session on Twitter, I posed the following question:

rnarchana What makes a trainer 'good' during classroom training?
partvinu The trainers should be able to involve the participants in the discussion through listening, and creative interventions.
chneels Should be able to convey the right message and content to the learners without putting them to sleep:)
chneels trainers should teach content with more examples and situations..
partvinu trainers can use humor but only to enliven the atmosphere, not to divert the attention of the learners
sandeepdev Learning by doing & learning by mistakes... the holy way of teaching
geetabose Good teachers do not provide asnwers, they say Find out yourself! RT @sandeepdev: Learning by doing & learning by mistakes...
rnarchana Good trainers always have their finger on the pulse of the audience. They adjust based on the participant's needs.
rnarchana They inspire, encourage, and praise. RT @geetabose: Good teachers do not provide answers, they say Find out yourself!
rnarchana A good trainer is extremely 'likeable', 'approachable', 'full of energy', 'good listener', 'highly observant', 'confident'.
rnarchana A good trainer makes the 'learning' come alive. He engages the learners mind without solely depending on presentation tools
rnarchana A good trainer will never be heard saying 'Man! The participants are terrible. They won't open their mouths.'
rnarchana gd trainer ensures that every participant gets a chance 2 voice their opinion/participate. He uses their names (not hey U! )
rnarchana Good trainers are well-prepared. They find all the answers. And if they don't know an answer, they are not afraid to accept it.
mutechords @rnarchana A good trainer is one who can visualize the realistic outcome of the training program
mutechords I enjoy trainings where there were no PPTs but more interactions+anaysis of situations. good trainers are like that i guess.
even before it has started
shana1729 @rnarchana A good trainer shud b interactive n engaging
shana1729 @rnarchana A good trainer will have a clear learning/teaching objective, wil conduct mock sessions before he goes live..
shana1729 @rnarchana A good trainer should be able to tackle the participants who goes on and on debating something useless.
shana1729 @rnarchana A good trainer will never read out the text on the slide!
shana1729 @rnarchana A gud trainer ll nvr underestimate learners. But understands and digs out the deep knowledge n crazy ideas from participants..
shana1729 @rnarchana A good trainer Sets expectation participants before starting off then maps Expectation and Achievements at d end
shana1729 My views on a good ILT, nd my bad experiences as well: #KernLearn
sumeet_moghe @rnarchana that's the one part i slightly disagree with. good trainers are facilitators -- they guide participants to the answers.

This discussion captures the characteristic of a good trainer. What are the 'don'ts'?
(Photo credit: Veer)
1. Do not invade the learner's personal space. If the trainer goes too close, he will end up intimidating the learner.
2. Do not 'stuff' information down the learner's throat. The trainer must remember that the learner has 'prior knowledge and experience'. It would be terrible to assume that the learner knows nothing. The trainer show draw out the answers from the learners and ensure that everyone learns from each other.
3. Don't be rigid. The trainer is a facilitator of learning. It is ok to add more points to the training material. The attitude 'It is not in the text book' will not work here.
4. Don't hurry topics because you have to meet a deadline. Don't skip activities or rush through the topics because you are worried you won't finish on time.
5. If there are obstacles, underplay them. For example, there is a power cut as you are taking a session, what would you do? Make a hue and cry over the facilities or the lack of it? Or ensure that you continue with the discussion without allowing anything to interrupt your flow?
6. Don't drag your feet. If the trainer is not energetic, how will the learner energy levels stay up? Regardless of how well they know their stuff, if there is no energy, they are detrimental to learning.
7. Don't digress. Too many thoughts/ideas is not what they need. Stay on the right track. Prepare well in advance to crystallize your thoughts.
8. Never blame it on the learner. If they don't respond to you, it is because you have made ZERO impact on them.

If you have any more points to add to this list, feel free to comment.

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